Lack of answers hampers efforts to prep for vaccination program

·3 min read

THERE is no word yet of when the vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will arrive in Cebu City, or what type of vaccine it will be and how many vials will be allocated to the city.

These were the answers given by national Inter-Agency Task Force for Covid-19 implementer for the Visayas Melquiades Feliciano to questions of members of the City Council during one of its regular sessions.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. asked what kind of vaccine the city could expect.

Feliciano said it might be Pfizer or Sinovac, but “right now we do not know what vaccine will be given to Cebu City.”

Councilor Jerry Guardo asked how many the City could expect, but Feliciano said the City would just have to wait for the announcement of the national task force.

Feliciano also had no answer to Councilor Raul Alcoseba who asked for a definite time of arrival of the vaccine.

“Sorry, I cannot answer that... there’s no definite schedule on the arrival of the vaccines, where will these vaccines go in all the LGUs (local government units), especially the highly urbanized cities,” Feliciano said.

Feliciano said areas with high Covid-19 cases, including Cebu City, will be prioritized in the distribution of the vaccine.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the council wants to learn these specifics since the committee on budget and finance is preparing the supplemental budget to augment the P400 million it allocated for the purchase of the vaccine.

“Can we get specific details regarding the role of the national government and the role of the local government in the vaccination rollout? Because this will have an effect, unsaon nato pag-budget (how will we budget)?” said Garcia.

Feliciano said the national government has no definite guidelines on the vaccination program, but he is sure that the national government will be the one to communicate with the logistic companies for the transportation of the vaccines and the LGUs’ only concern is to carry out the vaccination.

Despite being in the dark, the City has to prepare its vaccination program now.

Feliciano said the City can start by identifying basketball courts that will serve as vaccine posts.

According to their estimates, a covered court, with 39 personnel at each site, can accommodate up to 700 individuals a day.

In 10 months, a total of 700,000 individuals will be tested, he said.

Each vaccination site should have four nurses, one doctor, barangay tanods, Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and policemen. It should also have people to man registration and to serve as support staff.

Feliciano said the City should work closely with the Liga ng mga Barangay, whose members can help with registration and scheduling.

He said different clusters have already been identified to ensure there is no overlapping of tasks. These are:

  • Vaccination cluster in charge of overseeing vaccination in the identified vaccination sites;

  • Cold chain cluster in charge of monitoring patients for side effects of the vaccine;

  • Supplies and logistics cluster in charge of chairs and tables in vaccination sites;

  • Transport cluster in charge of transporting vaccines to vaccine sites;

  • Registration cluster in charge of overseeing registration, including identifying priority sectors;

  • Information and education program cluster in charge of educating the public about the vaccine and to convince them to get vaccinated; and

  • Communication hotlines and telemeds cluster in charge of monitoring individuals after vaccination.

Feliciano said the Vaccine Operations Center is also being organized. (JJL)